A record 155 trainee pharmacists have accepted pre-registration places in Wales for 2020-21, Health Education and Improvement Wales has said, marking a 60 per cent increase on the 96 places filled in 2019-20.
HEIW said 97 per cent of available pre-reg places across Welsh health boards had been filled for 2020-21, well above the overall fill rate for England and Wales of 65 per cent.
The health body attributed its recruitment success to its ‘Trainworklive’ campaign for health professionals, as well as its presence at university careers events across the UK. The intake includes students from England and Scotland as well as those who completed their undergraduate training in Wales.
Health minister Vaughan Gething commented: “This significant increase in pharmacy trainees for Wales is great news and a very encouraging start to our effort to train more pharmacists.
“In Wales, pharmacists increasingly play an important role in providing advice and treatment in communities, GP practices and hospitals.”
The pharmacist recruitment drive is “a key part of our future vision for the NHS,” Mr Gething said.
In April 2019 the Welsh Government announced plans to invest £3.6m in “transforming” the training it offers pre-reg pharmacists in 2020-21, rising to £4.9m in three years' time. The Government is seeking to boost the number of training places available in Wales to 200 by 2023-24.
As part of the training overhaul, all pre-reg pharmacists in Wales are to be employed and trained by the NHS, regardless of where they complete the majority of their training, something HEIW said would “remove barriers” between the different pharmacy sectors.
Margaret Allan, pharmacy dean at HEIW said: “I am delighted that undergraduate students across the UK have recognised the commitment in Wales to invest in pre-registration pharmacist training. The investment includes increasing numbers, but significantly will ensure a first-class quality assured training experience across the patient care pathway.
“We want pharmacists to have the skills to provide the best patient care wherever they are seen and this programme will be the building blocks to meet the ambitions of [sector roadmap strategy] Pharmacy: Delivering a Healthier Wales.”